ice·​fall ˈīs-ˌfȯl How to pronounce icefall (audio)
: a frozen waterfall
: the mass of usually jagged blocks into which a glacier may break when it moves down a steep declivity

Examples of icefall in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In 1981, 11 people died in an icefall during a climb guided in part by Peter. Alex Traub, New York Times, 5 Apr. 2024 From a ladder to paradise, an icefall then turns into a deadly trap. Jacopo Pasotti, WIRED, 25 Jan. 2024 Climbers typically describe icefalls as being alive. Jacopo Pasotti, WIRED, 25 Jan. 2024 Arnold climbing the Beta Block Super icefall in Kandersteg, Switzerland. Jacopo Pasotti, WIRED, 25 Jan. 2024 From 1953 to 2016, 25 percent of deaths on the Nepal side of the peak were at the icefall, writes climber and Everest chronicler Alan Arnette. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 June 2023 The icefall is a particularly deadly section that becomes even more perilous later in the day as the sun warms the mountain, leading to avalanches, rockfalls and collapsing ice towers. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 June 2023 Climbers have reported cracks appearing in the ice overnight, per Rosie Frost of Euronews, and avalanches and icefalls are expected to become more common. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 2 June 2023 The area around the treacherous Khumbu icefall – a steep portion of a glacier shaped like a frozen waterfall – is one of the most treacherous sections of a route used to summit the 8,848.86 meter (about 29,032 feet) mountain. Sugam Pokharel, CNN, 13 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'icefall.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of icefall was in 1803

Dictionary Entries Near icefall

Cite this Entry

“Icefall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2024.

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